The Ferrari 250 series was an immense home run for the Italian manufacturer. Not known for resting on their laurels, the 250’s successor, the 275, was even more prolific, iconic and perhaps the most definitive Ferrari ever to wear the stallion badge. Among the upper echelon of the 275s was the GTB4, named for its quad-cam, 300-horsepower V12. That front-mounted 3.3-liter “Colombo” configuration is among the most coveted and, with a typical auction market price north of $3 million, most of us can only salivate at the thought of ownership. Unless you’re renowned Ferrari collector David Lee, in which case you don’t care about the cost and buy a piece of history anyway.
Thankfully, Lee’s not much for trailer-queening his beauties and brings this brilliant 275 GTB4 to Jay Leno for a joy ride. Leno gushes over the expansive wooden tiller, that glorious gated shifter, and that overall, sexy magnificence the coupe exudes. “This is a car for getting a glass of wine and sitting in a chair in your garage and looking at it for hours,” Leno says of the rolling sculpture.
Lee picked it up six months ago, paying “top market dollar,” he chuckles, but it was worth it. It spent 47 years with the prior owner in San Francisco, who restored it to its original glory, right down to that Ferrari air cleaner, a piece that can individually cost more a brand new Kia, Leno wisecracks.
Only 350 examples of the 275 were made, and so few survived, and fewer still endured in such a remarkable condition, making Lee’s wheels even more rare. Leno remembers that when he was a teenager, a secondhand 275 went for $4,500. “That was the price of a new Corvette,” Leno recalls. But the allure of the 275 GTB4 was likely greater back then, because it was more rare; now you can go on YouTube and examine every inch of the steed. Then, you had to wait for a car magazine to print a grainy black and white picture.
The duo hit the road for a drive, which Leno declares heaven, due to the analog nature of the machine. “It may have 84,000 miles, but it drives like it’s only got 3,500,” the comic says. Along the way, Lee lets an interesting tidbit slip: Ferrari is preparing some special celebration editions for its 70th anniversary in 2017, including a special edition, chocolate brown-hued F12 inspired by Steve McQueen’s infamous 1963 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, dipped in the same shade. But the talk fades as the V12 sings and crescendos around the Los Angeles hills, and that’s not the worst thing. Check out the full episode below.